[Kerrik52]- I might flaunt my affinity for the Souls-series as often as possible, but I’m not the only one who is enamoured with the games. Triggerpigking is one such fellow, so we decided to have a friendly discussion about Dark Souls 3. It’s seemingly the end of the series for the foreseeable future and has left us both with a wide spectrum of emotions. Any words before we begin?
[Triggerpigking]- If I get this over with will you untie me? Fine. Dark Souls is the worst franchise ever, it gave us the Four Kings for god’s sake! But seriously though, I love the series. I’m not as mad about it as you are with your...healthy(?)....obsession but I adore it’s combat system, world and it’s bosses are some of the best in the industry.
[K]- So where does that leave DS3 then?
[T]- Eh, I enjoyed it but my rage for that game has no limit. It’s a massive step back in almost every way for the series, especially after Dark Souls 2 and Bloodborne. It felt like it just didn’t have any “soul” (Heh heh heh heh…) to it, like the series is just going through the motions now which is ironic given its story.
[K]- [Note: We spoil the shit out of this game and the others from this point onwards. You have been warned.]
[K]- I was rather hopeful coming from the new ending in DS2 and hearing that its director Yui Tanimura would co-direct alongside Hidetaka Miyazaki. I didn’t look at much footage, hoping to keep myself unspoiled. From what little I saw, It look very much like Bloodborne. I also guessed that the PVP would be more BB than DS2.
[T]- Pretty much the same, the new ending of 2 was a great middle for the series and had me hopeful for the next one (mainly because of Vaatividya’s awesome lore stuff). I was hoping the gameplay would take what was best from each game and merge them especially since BB and 2 both excelled in different aspects of the series.
I kinda kept off the hype train though since I already knew I was gonna enjoy it. I don’t think I ever watched any gameplay footage aside from the early Dancer footage.
[K]- As a concept, the Lords of Cinder are metal as hell, so I was of course intrigued. It really felt like the end of the world (alternate link for weebs). One thing that felt a bit weird was that it seems like DS3 has fate as an acting force, whereas the two other games only alluded to it as a concept. Why else would the lords of cinder and the Ashen One get resurrected?
[T]- Yes the Lords of Cinder are metal as fuuuck! See, about the “fate as an acting force” thing, I felt that was more the fire trying to fight back or some sorta defense mechanism by Gwyn. Why it then tries to fight the Ashen One though is anyone’s guess.
[K]- Jumped straight to the final boss, eh? So much for foreplay.
[T]- Yeah, the motivations of the final bosses make little to no sense to me, but we’ll discuss that later. When I first saw the Lord’s and the Ashen One I assumed there would be a connection to the immortal undead from 2. After all, it made sense, 2 ended with us finally having some sorta way to end the cycle or usurp it, but there is weirdly little to nothing about it in the game and less than nothing about the immortal undead.
[K]- He’s probably on paid vacation with Gavlan and the Emerald Herald.
[T]- Don’t forget the cat. Best girl!
[K]- I guess I hoped for something similar. We did get the Londor ending though and it feels rather appropriate.
[T]- I will say that actually, the Londor ending is very interesting, but we’ll discuss the endings later.
[K]- The way that levels connect in-universe is rather impressive. They flow into each other very well. It doesn’t feel as cramped as DS1 and it’s not as spread out and broken as DS2. This comes with the cost of the whole game having the same grey/piss yellow atmosphere though. The one time where they break this consistency is when entering Irithyll, which is a great “wow” moment.
[T]- I’d say they connect fine myself. Actually, the jarring changes would make sense here given the world has been mashed together with different areas and time periods.
But yeah, it’s better then the elevator to the floating castle of fire and weeaboos. I dislike the level design here the most though. There are a few moments of brilliance such as Irithyll, Lothric Castle and Anor Londo, but most of the areas are bland and boring or feel like we’ve done them before.
Take for example the High Wall of Lothric and the Undead Settlement. Both feel like copies of areas from earlier games. The Wall feels like a copy of both Boletaria from DeS and of the Undead Burg from DS1, while the settlement is basically Hemwick. And the Smouldering Lake feels eerily similar to Lost Izalith for some reason. So many areas in 3 just feel like I’m going through the same sorta area again and again.
[K]- I have come to terms with the fact that the first level of a Souls-game will have similar structure to Boletaria 1-1. It serves the game well to have a first area with varying types of humanoids that you can hopefully parry to death with some practice. What I noticed was just how “girtheous” most levels were.
They are so wide and full of side small paths to get lost in. This peeters of by the end when the budget shows its ugly mug, but the starting areas have loads of nooks to explore. I think my favorite little area is the underground crypt with the Velka statue and the tree skeletons in the Undead Settlement. It’s small, but fun to run through. What feels like half of the game being made of churches doesn’t help matters though.
[T]- Yep, I agree the levels are definitely wide, though I’d argue some outstay their welcome. Like everyone’s favorite swamp area for example!
[K]- What’s there not to love? There’s the roll killing water, the non-existent landmarks, the facefucking Ghrus, the Logarius cosplayers, the Basilisks and the Farron invaders. All good fun.
[T]- Don’t forget the slaughter of everyone’s favorite mushroom men, how have they not deteriorated yet?!
[K]- So you love it then? It can’t be worse than the mind numbing hellhole that is Smouldering Lake.
[T]- I will let Malcolm Tucker express my love for the place.
[K]- One thing that bothers me is just how linear the game is and how boring the start gets. Since the quests are so timid and specific, it’s usually stupid to try and play the game in a weird order. And even then, there’s not much choice to be had. I know that you can often choose where to go, but I don’t think it’s enough. The game being so short doesn’t help matters either.
[T]- Yeah, the game is ridiculously linear compared to 1 and 2, the only real choice you get is if to kill the Dancer early or not. There are a few side areas but nothing of much interest. And the questing is incredibly specific as you said, to the point where I failed the Anri’s and Greirat’s questlines for walking to one side of Irithyll first. EXPLORATION HO!
[K]- Speaking of stupid NPC flags, It has come to my attention that if you kill Emma in order to trigger the Dancer early, she still somehow teleports you back there once the three Lords of Cinder are dead! Even though you have explicitly done a sequence break and probably explored Lothric Castle. There’s railroading and then there’s railroading after the tracks have already been broken! So much for respecting the player’s abilities.
[T]- Ok, so I honestly didn’t play around too much with the weapons, I tend to stick to one weapon type per playthrough. That being said, what in the holy hell did they do to dual wielding? It’s way more dumbed down than in 2 where you could dual wield and powerstance practically anything. Learning that my main playstyle is only possible with paired weapons (treated as a single weapon not two) and that powerstancing is gone this time around was disheartening. Not to mention how underpowered a lot of them are.
Aside from that, I tried a playthrough with whips which are basically useless in this game because of how slow they are, though I dig the idea of having to use spacing to be effective.
[K]- I’m more of Guts kinda player, so Ultras are my deal. And they suck in DS3. They changed the rules of stunning enemies. You need to land a charge attack in order to pancake, which is sometimes fair and sometimes not. The fact that enemies recover insanely fast from poisebreak also makes it harder than it should be. Some bosses are just awful with a slow weapon. Straight swords on the other hand, are like Easy Automatic mode. Also, poise.
[T]- Poise is broken as all hell, it was especially bad at launch. So many enemies in this game have hyper armour while the player has little to no defence against being stunned no matter their armour.
[K]- Don’t forget that armor doesn’t really give you any defence and that you get extra penalties for having an empty slot.
[T]- The armour is a broken mix of BB’s and DS1’s armour systems. Armour doesn’t really do much to help you and on top of that they reverted to the static break points instead of the gradual one in DS2. If armour had any real benefit in this game then it’d be just as broken as 1 allowing me to go full havel armour with full dodge rolls.
[K]- That’s probably why they made it trash then, can’t have anything OP in a Dark Souls game, can we? Let’s not forget the weapon arts either. They are supposed to add depth, but I have to really force myself to use them. They don’t feel worth the FP cost. Similar moves in DS2 were either free or cost durability. Why should a warrior level attunement anyway?
[T]- I was intrigued by weapon arts at first, they seemed like a good way of applying the unique moveset of dual wielding in 2 to everything in game. But yeah, they are mostly useless. The main ones for dual wielding being some of the worst it seems, I never used the spin attack because it’s so weak and of course does not stun enemies. Admittedly the whip has an interesting one which is a sorta fake out attack but the whip is so unviable as a weapon that it doesn’t help much.
[K]- The new spells are sorta cool, except they are pathetically weak. The old point and shoot ones are better by a longshot, so that’s the ones I use. Especially since they all share a common resource now. Pestilent Mercury is good for cheesing a good chunk of the game though. Pyromancy has like one good spell and miracles has one buff that’s good. The rest are trash. And we don’t speak of dark magic. That would only invite sadness.
[T]- Using spells? Pfft, casul.
I only need my ladle…. Oh wait it’s not in the game! The lack of joke weapons is a minor thing but it is annoying for the more weirder builds and having joke weapons just adds some silly fun to the games. I mean, just look at this shit and tell me the game isn’t better for it!
[K]- And there’s no trident dance either! Heresy says I!
[T]- When it comes to stats, I haven’t got much to say because it seems to be the usual problems. I usually tend to focus on similar stats each game. It’s a unpopular opinion but I do miss adaptability, sue me! (Editor’s Note: Please don’t sue us) It made you choose between being a heavy tank or be good at dodging. After all, if you’re jumping around in heavy armour why should you have as good a rolling ability as lighter builds?
[K]- That would require tanking to be a viable strategy, which it isn’t. Or rather, it is, just not when you want it to. You can block decently and trade with some success using certain weapons. The thing I want poise for is just resisting shit-tier enemies and arrows. Can’t do that!
But the super sanic situation is kind of silly. It makes sense in BB, but here it’s so dumb. Just look at this and tell me it requires skill:
[T]- Yeah, a big issue I have with 3 in general is how it feels like they tried to mix BB with DS1 mechanics, which makes no sense! BB’s combat system is sorta Dark Souls distilled into one playstyle, that being a fast paced build. Everything around it is built for this such as regaining health through fighting.
The DS series on the other hand has always allowed for multiple styles of gameplay, mixing the two makes no sense. For example, the character feels slower and clunkier like in DS1 but the enemies feel like BB ones. They also moved over the locational damage found in BB without allowing you to lock onto body parts in 3, the whole game feels like a forced mishmash of mechanics from two different games.
[K]- Here’s something that keeps me from enjoying the fast pace: The input buffer!
Somehow, they managed to increase its window after it was almost vanquished in DS2 and BB. This leads to the game queueing up a roll even when you get hit. So when the stagger animation finishes, you still do the roll!
It wouldn’t be so bad, if enemies didn’t do so much damage. Late-game Lothric knights are nuts!
[T]- Yeah, a lot of enemies do ridiculous amounts of damage, even the ones you’d assume would be weaker. Fast enemies such as the pontiff knights can rip you to shreds (Oh we’ll get into that shitshow later).
[K]- What’s your opinion on how they changed durability going from DS2 and BB?
[T]- ……….What’s a durability? Can you eat it?
[K]- It’s like Frostbite, it’s there, but you don’t notice it. Hell, even the boss who spams Frostbite, you know, your favorite sister of the Sable church, can’t make it effective.
[T]- So let’s be a bit (BIT being the operative word.) nice for once. DS3 has got some improvements in it. For one, being able to quickly switch back to your estus flask is ingenious. It’s such a small change but it helps a lot in the middle of a fight. Allocating estus between ashen and regular flasks is also great idea.
[K]- And we can finally offer multiple covenant items! In a game where the PVP is crap…
[T]- Another big issue is the lack of new features that Dark Souls 2 included. For one, I really appreciated how customizable the difficulty was in 2 due to bonfire ascetics and the Covenant of Champions. It also allowed for you to easily refight bosses, a feature annoyingly missing from every other game in the series. NG+ features are worse as well. In 2, going into NG+ or using an ascetic on an area would add new content. It wasn’t the most in depth feature and one that needed to be expanded upon but it was an amazing idea for replayability. 3 has some of this but it’s incredibly half-assed.
At the very least they included the new jump button though! *Glares angrily at Bloodborne.*
[K]- I’ll just make my stance clear. Enemies in this game are fast. Hella fast even, as the kids say. So fast in fact, that I can’t be bothered to try and parry them. The bosses are easier to parry! For me, it’s just a question of who gets the first hit and can stunlock the other to death. That’s all there is, since poise doesn’t work for the player and works strangely for the enemies.
[T]- Super naked Ghru’s…..fuck the super naked Ghru’s (Not literally, please don’t)! They spam the exact same jump attack repeatedly with barely a chance to counter. I’ve gotten into long fights with them doing a jump attack on me, having a single moment to swat them once and then them doing it again and again and again...and again.
Pontiff Knights are another beautiful standout. They do tons of damage and have no windup to their attacks, which when you dislike using shields is basically impossible to avoid. Also, the Fire Witches can attack you through walls! Also also, the Evangelists are way too fast for how hard they hit.
[K]- Those bastards are nothing compared to the Sulyvahn Beasts. I know they’re a shameless reference to the Berserk beast, so they have to be strong. But there has to be a limit. That limit being enemies shouldn’t be faster than the worst of BB and home in better than the worst of DS2! I swear they did a dare on how bullshit they could make them. And having a shield doesn’t help when they can attack every half of a second.
[T]- Let’s not forget about the mindfla-I MEAN Jailors! Did you think the BB Winter Lanterns weren’t extreme enough? Want to know what good game design looks like? Then look no further! Jailors come in massive groups, can drain your health by just looking at you and if they hit you they lower your maximum equip load forcing you into a slow roll!...
They were clearly trying to copy the Mindflayers from Demon’s Souls. However, they are way more unfair due to the area design.They immediately hurt you just by looking at you whereas the mindflayers had to stun, run up and grab you and didn’t come in hectic hordes hellbent on sticking their soldering iron up your arse!
[K]- I think the worst among them is the Outrider Knights. They move like BB enemies on crack, and won’t ever give up! It feels like they begin their second attack before the last one finished. How did this go through testing!?
[T]- Well, atleast we got giant enemy crabs.
[T]- FUCKING SKELETOR!!!
This guy? What'd he do to you?
[T]- No, the vape lord one! His breath attack is ridiculously cheap, trying to hit his arms is just annoying and he’s just no fun to fight.
DS3’s bosses are a mixed bag. A big problem I have with them in general is how gimmicky some of them are. For example, the Curse-Rotted Greatwood is a boring boss with little to him (Fun Fact: You actually can’t kill with the whip. GARM DESIGN!).
The Crystal Sage is a terrible homage to the fool’s idol with none of the strategy. Instead he turns the game into Touhou for 5 minutes. And there’s of course Yhorm the Giant disappointment who requires 0% skill whatsoever to beat. Also, fuck ‘em for returning to the original giant designs, vagina faced giants are king!
[K]- Paging Dr. Freud, paging Dr. Freud.
I’m of the opinion that the bosses are the most complex they’ve ever been, at least moveset-wise. Barring the gimmick bosses, the regular ones really do everything to kill you. It’s fun, provided you have a fast weapon to match their speed. If you don’t, it’s mostly a crapshoot whether you can counter or not. I’ve learned how to play with heavy weapons, but it’s an uphill battle, since tanking isn’t very viable.
I like that they finally made a good mob boss with the Deacons of the Deep. They actually have some mechanics beyond their numbers, which is nice.
The Abyss Watchers annoy me a bit since they’re so edgy and easy to spam to death. But the fight is decent, so I can’t complain too much.
The ones that tilt me are the likes of Pontiff Staminavahn, the Champ (without parries) and Oceiros. That’s mostly because they. Just. Won’t. Stop. Coming.
[T]- See, some of the bosses just have ridiculous speed though. For example, Champion Gundyr can basically cancel any of his moves to stop you from healing, even when it makes little to no sense. Plus, a lot are just unmemorable like Vordt or the Dragonslayer Armour(I had to be reminded by Kerrick he exists!).
That being said, I do enjoy some of the bosses, the Abyss Watchers for example. They are a lot of fun, having a boss where the members are fighting each other raises so many questions for the player and makes for a fun and unique boss battle.
Pontiff is basically Ice climbers the boss battle and I really enjoyed the Lothric Princes and the lore surrounding them. Oh and the Nameless king is metal as fuuuuuuck! Wasn’t as difficult as I was led to believe though, maybe it was just my build.
[K]- When I first got to him, the Nameless King wrecked me something fierce. That was my fault, since I had a shitty sword. But now, after they patched the Sunlight Straight Sword to scale with FTH and I’ve gone through the DLC, he’s just a nice, energetic and fun fight.
[T]- Also quick shout out to the awesome Dancer boss battle and her beautiful...round...combo’s
One last boss I want to praise is Aldrich. So, I dislike 99% of the fanservice in this game, Anor Londo despite how blatant it is really works for me though. It’s backed up due to the lore of how time is caving in on itself and it expands a lot to the story of Gwyndolin, the only God who wasn’t a bloody cockbag. it’s not just shameless fanservice like the rest of it in game but actually you know...adds something to the series. As for his battle, Aldrich is quite fun, not one of my favorites but he’s cool though he can take his barrage of arrows and shove them up his nonexistent…
[K]- *Ahem* I didn’t care for the Anor Londo revisit much. I was just so surprised that they had the gall to do it. It rings a bit hollow, since the whole game is used to build up Aldrich, and then quickly rushes you off to Lothric to finish the game proper. The level being even more boring than in DS1 really sucks.
[T]- And now for the Soul of Cinder...oh boy this boss. So where do I begin? Well, to start, his Boss battle is pretentious as fuck. I get it he’s meant to be representational of the player but there’s nothing to him but that, he’s just a PVP boss fight. On top of that it’s luck based depending on when he changes form and who he changes to.
If you’re far away when he goes into his magic build, your only real choice is to just run away and wait it out. However, if he starts that when right next to you, well, I tore his entire health bar into itty tiny pieces crushed them up and snorted them up like cocaine.
As for his second form, it’s nothing but cheap emotion grabbing. He’s alright to fight but there’s nothing here but fanservice and a relatively easy boss battle. The lack of personality or buildup also hurts him considerably, all the previous final bosses have lots of build up. SoC just comes out of nowhere though, I feel nothing fighting him like I did with Aldia, Gehrman or Allant.
His motivations don’t even make sense, why fight the player? Your purpose is to restart the fire and you were created by the fire for this purpose. Him fighting you goes against what the fire wants despite him being a construct of it. I’ve heard some say that this is a final challenge but I’ve already killed the Lords of Cinder. And if I fail in this fight, congrats flame you’ve sabotaged yourself, bravo! SoC would only make sense if there were multiple final bosses. For example if you try to end the fire, it would make sense to fight him.
SoC has become my most hated final boss in the series (barring maybe Nashandra). And yes, this includes Aldia and real King Allant because while easy I at least felt emotion in their boss battles and they’ve stuck with me. Pheeuuuh… I needed to get that out of my system.
[K]- Good god man, remember to breathe. I found him rather tough, the DEX/Pyro form especially. I think the lack of build-up is because there’s nothing left, except for the first flame. I would have liked him to use fighting styles more recognisable from DS1/DS2, but it’s still a very varied fight with 5 forms. Quite the change from the pathetic final bosses we usually get.
[T]- NPCs are mostly a mixed bag, the main ones I have issue with are those solely here for fanservice. Does Andre really add anything at all by being here? Patches is an exception because...well he’s Patches. In fact, I’d say this game has got the best rendition of Patches giving him a bit more depth then usual. I enjoyed Greirat as well despite his broken plotline, Anri is ok...mainly she just has a cute voice.
The firekeeper however, is a huge disappointment, she’s just generic (“I’m a firekeeper”). That’s all I can say, nothing to her. I expected much more after how well crafted the Doll and Shanalotte where, both smart variations on the maiden in black.
[K]- Well, she says as much. She’s just there, looking after you. I would have much preferred my early speculation being true and it was Alsanna, the wife of the Ivory King, who was your guide. Maybe I should keep the fanfiction out of this.
Andre, Karla and Siegward just piss me off. I think they’ve admitted that bringing back Andre was a stupid idea. He should be dust! Siegward and Karla are almost complete copies of earlier characters, armor and all! I really like Orbeck for his tsundere qualities and I suppose Hawkwood is a nice spin on the crestfallen warrior trope.
But you know the real issue with NPCs, don’t you?
[T]- ...Their still disgusting character models?
[K]- No, you foolish fool, the quests! Remember the quests!
The series is always a bit evil with quests, but DS3 takes the cake. There are so many ways to progress too fast and unintentionally break quests completely. I never play without a checklist, just so I won’t forget to backtrack to Sirris’ sign for no reason and help her sorry ass. I can’t imagine why they tied so many quests to bosses, when the NPCs have nothing to do with most bosses. It’s a mess and I despise it.
Fighting them is also a pisser, since you have to do it like a PVP battle where your opponent does mad bananas amounts of damage.
[T]- One other thing that really confuses me is the NPC reactions to the fire linking in this game. In 2, linking the fire was treated as a more grey subject, all the npc’s had varying opinions on whether or not it’d be a good thing to keep this cycle going and some were just apathetic, such as Shalquoir. Now it could just be due to DS3 having people from all different era’s but it feels like everyone barring the obvious Kaathe group seem to be all for linking it again which just confuses me.
There’s also the lord of hollows ending, I’m not sure what to make of it, I can’t tell if it’s freeing humanity or if it’s simply creating another cycle based around the Ashen one essentially making you the new Gwyn. I haven’t done too much research on it but I do like the ambiguity.
For the end the fire ending, the firekeeper seems surprisingly all for betraying her entire purpose despite having zero reason to do so. This ending was also very ambiguous, I’m not sure if it’s simply another temporary dark lord ending or if it’s an actual end to the fire, the fire linking ending is basically self explanatory.
I just wish one of these endings had more to do with two’s Scholar ending with the immortal crowns and Aldia, the ending promised an interesting finale for the series but what we got had nothing to do with what had been set up.
[K]- Geez, it’s not like we have a section just for the endings down below.
[T]- Bitch, you think I care, this is a rant, not a proper blog.
[K]- My existence is a lie
[K]- The music doesn’t really grab me. Usually, there’s only a handful of songs per game that I like. DeS is the exception, since every song isn’t just *Orchestral Sounds and Blaring Vocals* there. But I haven’t really given the soundtrack a proper listen, so I’ll leave things here.
[T]- The music is a mixed bag IMO, though I don’t mean that as an insult. Barring Demon’s Souls (where I liked everything) I’ve always found the music to be a mixed bag of good music that I wouldn’t really listen to or really amazing stuff. A few tunes I will say I adore are the Lothric princes, Abyss Watchers and while I hate the boss, the Soul of Cinder theme is great! I can’t really say I outright disliked any of them though but as said that’s par for the course in the series.
[K]- I tried. I really did. I sort of. The PVP in this game is not well designed. Since the game is so fast, it’s very difficult to punish people outside of trading, which the game seems enamoured with. I don’t like trading unless I have to do it. Your rolling and tracking is also very strong, making positioning mostly an afterthought.
The covenants lack identity and kinda meld together in my mind. There are some fun ideas, like the Moundmakers, but even their zany invasions can’t make the combat better. If the core of the game is rotten, it doesn’t matter if there are some fun ideas in it.
When invading, you also get matched with gankers more often, which I hate. It should be completely random who you invade. But that might be because killing bosses shuts down invasions, with no way to reinstate them.
[T]- I can’t comment much on PVP. I gave it a try but well…
[K]- I made an effort not to spoil myself on Ashes of Ariandel. I went into it cautiously, hoping for the best.
[T]- Well, the Dark Souls DLCs are usually the best part so I was excited despite my lukewarm reaction to 3 in general. Ashes of Ariandel though is kinda representational of the game as a whole for me. It’s a ton of boring “been there done that” stuff, unfair bullshit and a few nuggets of gold.
[K]- I enjoyed getting lost before realising just how easy the DLC is to run through. There’s only one choke point in the whole thing where you actually have to fight something. I think they wanted to tell the series’ story in a microcosm, which was cool but boring. It feels much more interested in storytelling than gameplay.
[T]- I haven’t payed too much attention to the story of the DLC past its connection to the next, mainly because I just don’t give a fuck about this dlc.
The environments are just boring. Ariandel is mostly a generic snow area for the series copying Ariamis in places. The only small place that stood out to me was the room with the giant flies that was a nice changeup from what we saw...and it was only 1 god damn room! I will say though at the very least….there were no reindeers here..*Shivers*.
God hath forsaken us….
I also noticed some lazy enemy designing as well with the Corvian Knights taking their moveset and animations exactly from the ninja skeletons from the Catacombs of Carthus.
The amount of bosses is also incredibly lazy, there’s only 2. One of which is a forgettable Sif style fight, the other is Sister Friede. That... THAT was an awesome fight. For one, it’s a first in the series having 3 health bars and very different phases. She has awesome music and she’s clearly based on Lady Maria which was one of my fav BB bosses…..and I sadly never got to fight Friede myself, haha. I played through the DLC with a friend and the lucky bastard got the only good part of the dlc!
[K]- I have nothing to say about the Gravetender. He just is. The crabs outside are a cooler fight anyway. The miniboss enemies are decent, but the level design doesn’t cooperate with them much. Except for the snipers, the enemies just lounge around and look sad.
Lady Elfriede and Scottish grandpa are a different story. I got absolutely destroyed, not understanding how I’d ever have enough Estus for the whole ordeal. I eventually got gud, but it was really hard. It was fun taking revenge on her by Brassersing her in coop though.
Overall, it was a short dud. There wasn’t any cool new equipment for me, it’s literally an area from DS1 (again!) and Friede was probably made to cater to foot fetishists. You?
[T]- ...You say that like it’s a bad thing. Dark Souls has a long and noble history of foot fetishism!
[K]- The leadup to the Ringed City was something else. It’s the last Dark Souls thingie to be released and will probably remain as such. I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I heard some fun things that turned out to be true. We got loads of bosses, paired greatshields and ultra greatswords and even some DS2 fanservice. Though something tells me the last one was just so that they could bring back the push-up bra.
The tone of the whole thing really sold me on the end of the world. The whole game should have been like that!
[T]- Yep, the whole game should’ve been like this. For one, the Ringed City’s area design was much more unique than most of the game. The city itself was great level design and a lot of fun. I was disappointed that the Dark Souls 2 fanservice was still just barebones without any meaning but it was cool nonetheless. I also enjoyed most of the bosses this time as well. The Demons were so much fun, required a good lot of patience to get through like a good multi enemy boss battle. I didn’t care for Midir, just a generic dragon boss fight but Gael...we’ll get to him later.
I also really enjoyed the enemy design here as well, the angels made for a fun challenge and plenty of “Oh shit!” running away moments. The Harald knights had a cool design as well and I liked how ledges were placed to allow for jump attacks on them.
[K]- There’s just so much to it. It’s like a best of the series kinda thing. Having Lapp as your partner through the w(hole) thing felt so right, even if it was just fanservice. Getting to see Alva & Zullie’s story come to an end was nice too. The enemies were tanky, but it felt like this was the time for the game to let loose and push some limits.
The Demon Prince was ok, he torched me good and proper. The Spear of the Church fight is cool, but DS3 PVP is so bad that I can’t even pretend to enjoy it.
Midir broke me down and rebuilt me just like Fume Knight did in DS2. He’s such a tanky bugger full of instakill lasers and tailswipes. But once you learn the fight and stop using the lock-on, it’s an epic 9 minute brawl to the last point of HP. You get rewarded with either a Vergil reference or a King’s Field reference, so I have to give thumbs up just for that.
[T]- Now then, fuck all that other stuff. GAAAAAAAAAEEEL!!!
Gael is one of the best final bosses this series could’ve asked for, the setup for one is fantastic. The end of the world has happened and it’s just you, him and that random knight bloke in the corner.
Gael first appears in the beginning of Ashes of Ariandel. He’s a weak, feeble and forgettable character who becomes probably the strongest creature in existence by the end of the world, all in the name of collecting the dark soul for his master the painter.
Unlike the forced nature of SoC, this perfectly creates a parallel with the MC’s of DS1 and 2, in both of these games you are a feeble unknown undead, only kept going through the promises of the firekeeper. In 2 or in DS1’s case they lie that you’re some special undead, Gael is the same. He’s kept going only through his dedication to the painter, his firekeeper.
His fight is also incredibly epic, he’s basically Guts from Berserk with a broken sword and a sweet rapid fire crossbow. Considering that Dark Souls ripped of- I mean took inspiration from Berserk, it’s a rather fitting final boss and the whole thing is just..incredibly epic! The music helps a lot as well it’s one of the best themes in the series IMO, up there with Sir Alonne.
[K]- I love the fight as well. The series has slowly been going anime and this is zenith anime. Just listen to his theme:
I give him points for being a fair fight with an ultra greatsword and having just the right amount of poise. You can stun him regularly, but not easily. The open arena and his wide moves makes for a really energetic battle where you just fly over the landscape. He also gets points for making Way of White Corona look cool, something I thought impossible.
In the end, what more could we have expected than a final battle with a Berserk reference at the end of the world?
[T]- I already wrote about this shit. I’m not doing it again!
[K]- I hope you readers realise what I have to work with over here. It’s nothing but jokes aimed at my sense of self worth and bad grammar. We had the purest of intents, in the beginning.
[T]- You’re the one who forced me into this, I’ll make your life as hellish as possible.
[K]- Good point, well made.
No matter which ending you pick, they all radiate a sense of finality. It feels like there won’t be anything after this. My favorite is the End of Fire ending, where the Firekeeper cradles the First Flame and lets it die, leaving only darkness and the small hope of embers. You can also stab her at that point for one last DeS reference if you want. Sounds like something you would do.
[T]- ..I won’t deny that I thought about it. In the end, the endings actually all seem pointless. This depends on what Dark Souls’ idea of time travel is, but the Gael fight implies all of the endings fail, leading to the true end of the world.
Interestingly though, this is actually a good ending for the series when you give it some thought. The dark soul Gael has is basically the soul of everyone in the series, when you give it to the painter to create a new world you’re presumably giving all these people a second chance outside of the cycle...Assuming she doesn’t use it to draw lewds.
[K]- So, where does that leave the meta series then? I still hunger for my Souls fix and I don’t want to let it go. It’s the one good WRPG franchise, for chrissakes! But they definitely need a break. That new Armored Core might do the trick, I have no interest in that one. As long as they don’t make another Evergrace or let the Dark Souls IP into western hands, I’m good.
[T]- Yep, I felt the series has needed a long hiatus after 2’s unpolished launch and clearly missing content. 3 just solidified that belief with how samey it felt.
For the time they are made in, the Souls-games are amazing but I feel they should go the Zelda route and only release a Souls-game every 4-5 years, because at the rate they were going it was going to reach CoD or AC levels of repetitiveness.
That being said I love all the variations we are getting from different devs on the souls format, Salt and sanctuary was great, Nioh is now one of my favorite games and I’m looking forward to playing the Surge and Lords of the Fallen.
[K]- (Should I tell him? Nah.)
I guess that’s that. Blog done. But I’m not. I can feel a salty fluid building up inside that demands release!
[T]- Dude, if you’re gonna ejaculate all over the google doc, I’m out.
[K]- What? No! Wait! I was gonna shill my saltblog about DS3. Besides I thought you were tied up?
[T]- Nah, you only tied one arm. Later bitches!
[K]- Umm, well...